I was inspired to start The Setting when…

I was working in event production. I took that scrappy sensibility you need during event production into my apartment and kitchen and began thinking “I’m not formally trained in anything. Not cooking, baking or homemaking, but I can put a beautiful tablescape together with the best of them, why can’t my home reflect that?”

Customized, handmade tableware is how we started. There was so much interest from consumers in being able to have a hand in the process and we have just grown from there.

I chose Soho as the location for our studio space because…

It has so much history in art, fashion, and community. SoHo to me is the aspirational heart of creative New York and despite all of the shiny, glass high-rises there are still proud pockets of cobblestone streets and little galleries or shops making their mark here.

Journal – Our lifestyle blog is important to The brand story because…

It is an opportunity to share stories with more depth. The homeware industry feels a little dated to me, home entertainment and the way women are portrayed as “perfect” is just flat. We want to highlight women who tell the truth and give approachable, helpful advice. Everyone can be inspired at home, so we have begun a series entitled ‘the settings’, asking modern, authentically inspiring women in various industries, how they create the environment where they feel the most at home.

I am inspired by…

Love and loyalty. The notion of sticking by people when they’re up or down is more important than anything else. Having good people around you is the difference between making it and dreaming about it.

Skills that didn’t always come natural to me as an entrepreneur…

Communication. I used to be afraid of problems or issues that needed to be fixed at work and I would get nervous or upset. I never wanted to make a mistake. Mistakes are going to happen. The sooner you get to work on fixing them, the easier it is. Every time.

Ways I am working to improve those skills…

Keeping lines of communication open 24/7. It helps me pace problem solving and doesn’t put so much pressure on perfecting every task in the span of Monday through Friday. That adjustment alone has brought me tremendous confidence in the process of building a business. What you haven’t mastered, you will learn along the way. Just be open to whatever it takes and be consistent.

Top 5 tips for preparing for industry trade shows…

  1. Think ahead. Make a checklist to help organize your thoughts, to-dos and goals a month in advance.
  2. Bring some basic cleaner. It’s nice to have a clean booth each morning. There’s a lot of dust in big convention centers!
  3. Find a way to stand out. We had a unique lamp that we plugged in to illuminate our lucite shelves and mini cupcakes, which everyone loved.
  4. Network. Meet people who are in other booths. Some of my best connections come from other people showing.
  5. Plan your breakdown and load out. As soon as the last day is done, it’s a madhouse. Everyone is exhausted and scrambling to go home.

We donate 5% of proceeds to City Harvest because…

The amount of food wasted at high-end restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and distributors is unacceptable. City Harvest bridges the gap of excess inventory and mobilizes an army of dedicated volunteers who, rain or shine, drive trucks to hundreds of participating locations that donate day old foods to be distributed throughout the 5-boroughs of New York. We believe in socially conscious business and I am proud that every purchase at The Setting gives back. Writing our first check to City Harvest was the proudest moment of my entrepreneurial story. By far!

Ways entrepreneurs can personalize their customer experience…

The consumer climate has been disrupted by instant access to news and information. Peer-to-peer dialogue between your brand and your consumer will resonate. Respond to every email and question and if you’re unable, bring someone on who can. It’s important and will continue to be. The feeling of inclusion is a cool concept for a brand to embrace and it definitely personalizes the customer experience. Sharing behind the scenes photos is another way to touch on your own version of transparency.

I test products by…

Using the pieces at home, gifting them to friends and then of course paying close attention to customer feedback and quality control. If you sell a high end product, make sure you are making a high-end product.

Best advice I ever received…

If it were easy, everyone would do it” was something my dad told me years ago and to this day, it’s the best advice anyone has ever said. Never be afraid of the work.